Lately, checking in on the news has felt tougher than ever. Whether it’s politically charged disagreements, acts of war, racist attacks, natural disasters, or instances of mass violence—feeling safe and staying optimistic about the future isn’t easy.

After tragedies, we can often feel torn between wanting to stay updated and informed, but also struggling to process the information emotionally.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the news lately, you’re far from alone. Consuming bad news can lead to feelings of helplessness and can trigger us to view the world in darker ways, which can impact our optimism. It can also affect our desire to take action.

But there are steps you can take after a tragedy to help you get back to a place of self-care, optimism, and advocating for the issues you care about.

Here, a few tips from experts:

1. Acknowledge What Happened

Before you can process the information, it’s important to accept that it happened.

Take a moment to acknowledge what happened. If you feel comfortable, maybe read a few articles or view videos from different sources to get the best picture of what happened. If visuals tend to be too much, try listening to a radio news briefing instead.

Then, start acknowledging how the events are making you feel. It can help to process the event with other people. If you can, talk to a close friend or family member so you’re not alone while coming to terms with what happened.

2. Take a Break from the News

It can be very tempting to want to constantly check the news every other second of the day to keep yourself updated, but It’s more than OK to turn off the TV or put down your iPad and limit your intake of information. And if you don’t ever feel ready to learn more? That’s OK, too.

Use that break to take care of yourself by getting exercise, nourishing yourself in healthy ways, or getting some sleep.

3. Gauge How This Affects You

We all have unique backgrounds, and we react differently to certain events. Taking these factors into consideration will help you understand and gauge your emotional reaction.

Ask yourself: How do I feel as a whole? How do the events affect me, and how do I feel about that? What do I need right now to soothe me emotionally?

Sometimes, you might need extra help figuring things out. If you are continuing to struggle for a long period of time or you’re experiencing significant life impairment, you should try seeking help from a professional as soon as possible.

4. Consult Your Support System

Being around family and friends, especially during a tragedy can help a whole lot.

When discussing the events, try and talk to someone who can listen, observe, and comfort if needed.

Share with them how you feel, and make your needs explicit, clearly requesting what you need to cope. This helps others understand how they can help you through the process.

Let your support system help you establish the practices and tools you need to cope.

5. Try to Listen to Your Logical Self

As scary as tragedies are, it’s important to remind ourselves that we live in very safe times.

To return back to your usual routine, focus on the facts (“How many times have I known a victim of something like this personally?”) rather than the emotion (“How awful would it be if something like this happened to my family?”). This framing can help you stay realistic.

6. Focus Your Attention on Something Good

Try putting your actions towards doing something good to balance out the current negativity. This could mean supporting survivors, the community, or your family in the wake of events.

Helping out others empowers you to know that you are making a positive difference in the world, no matter how minute it might seem.

7. Be Open to the Future

When we hear of something tragic, it’s easy to begin to map out what could happen next.

But we can’t predict things so plainly. Before you run off with a million “what ifs” and domino events that you think might happen, try to be open to the future and the potential for positivity. Stressing about what hasn’t happened yet will only add unnecessary weight to your shoulders.

8. Don’t Shame Yourself For Feeling Upset

It is completely normal to feel devastated, angry, or scared in the wake of tragedy.

Also: Try to release your need to find a why behind a tragedy. Nobody understands tragedy. It happens and it’s awful, sad, confusing, and frustrating. As is natural in human nature, we want to try and break apart all of the details to find reason in the unthinkable. But it’s a futile mission.

Accept you won’t have an answer to your why, but know you have the power to care for yourself as you cope with the what.

If you’re feeling especially overwhelmed, know that asking for help is a strength, seek professional help.

If you would like to book our Registered Professional Counselor at Evolve, please send an email to

DISCLAIMER: These posts should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any health, medical, physical or psychiatric condition. Information shared via posts does not replace professional healthcare advice specific to your condition and needs. If you are unsure whether you would benefit from implementing tools discussed in these posts, please contact your healthcare provider.